JUL 31, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Researchers draw connection between high-potency cannabis, mental health and addiction issues

In a recent study published in Lancet Psychiatry, a team of researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, UK, presented a comprehensive review connecting cannabis potency (THC concentration) with depression, anxiety, psychosis, or cannabis use disorder (CUD). The findings suggest that individuals using high-potency cannabis have a greater likelihood of experiencing addiction than individuals who use low-potency cannabis., along with being more likely to experience psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

“Our systematic review found that people who use higher potency cannabis could be at increased risks of addiction as well as psychosis when compared to people who use cannabis products with lower potencies,” says Dr. Kat Petrilli from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, and lead author of the study. “These results are important in the context of harm reduction which aims to minimize the negative consequences associated with drug use. While the safest level of use for cannabis is of course ‘no use’, it is important to acknowledge that a significant number of people across the world use cannabis regularly and to ensure they can make informed decisions that could reduce any possible harms associated with it.”  

The study states that strategies for using cannabis safely could help in cannabis regulation in the UK and around the world. While recreational cannabis use is still illegal in the UK, it is now legal in Canada, Uruguay, and parts of the US. Liberal Democrats in the UK have argued that enforcing limits on cannabis potency could help regulate its legal use.

“Our findings suggest that people who use cannabis could reduce their risk of harm by using lower potency products,” says Dr. Tom Freeman, Director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group, and a co-author on the study. “In places where cannabis is legally sold, providing consumers with accurate information on product content and access to lower potency products could help people to use cannabis more safely.”

Sources: Lancet Psychiatry

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

MSc in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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